Tottenham Hotspur beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 away with goals by Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski for a second straight win that nudged them closer to the Premier League top four on Friday although they had midfielder Yves Bissouma sent off late on.
Ange Postecoglou’s Spurs outfit started the season in scintillating form before being hobbled by injuries but got back on track with a 4-1 home win over Newcastle United and followed that with victory in a tricky-looking game at the City Ground.
Driven on by inspirational captain Son Heung-min, the visitors looked the slicker side from the start and were duly rewarded when Richarlison guided home a header in first-half stoppage time from a brilliant Kulusevski cross.
It was the Brazilian’s third goal in two games, a welcome burst after previously struggling to score for Spurs.
Swede Kulusevski sealed the win himself in the 65th minute when he picked up a loose pass from Forest keeper Matt Turner, sidestepped Moussa Niakhate and smashed the ball into the net.
Forest got a boost when Bissouma was shown a red card after a VAR review for a dangerous foul five minutes later but were unable to cut the deficit, extending a winless run to six games.
“It’s a tough game here, you have to earn whatever you get,” said Postecoglou, “They (Forest) are obviously pretty desperate for points. For the most part, we stayed pretty calm and composed … I’m really pleased.”
The result left Tottenham on the edge of top four Champions League qualifying places. They remain fifth but are now level on 33 points with Manchester City and four points behind leaders Liverpool, albeit having played a game more then their rivals.
Steve Clarke’s Forest are 16th on 14 points, five points above the drop zone in their second season since promotion.
At 1-0 down, the hosts thought they might have equalised when Anthony Elanga poked home for close-range, but his effort was ruled offside by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
After the sending off, Spurs came under more pressure, with Guglielmo Vicario producing a brilliant save on the line with his leg from a Harry Toffolo header, then seeing the ball bounce off both the post and him from a Neco Williams shot.
“We are in a little dip at the moment in form,” said Williams. “This is football. We have to stick together and the results will come eventually.
“You saw the crowd today, they love the manager and we love the manager as well. We believe in him and the fans believe in him, it is just a matter of time to pick up the results.”
Kulusevski was buzzing after his goal and assist, saying life was good for Spurs under Postecoglou. “If I could choose my football, this is my football, attack, very fun training sessions, aim high always … play to win,” he said.